City Loan Watch: Patrick Roberts and Brandon Barker shine, Denayer subbed off, Hart nutmegged

Another week has passed and it is fair to say that it has been a frustrating weekend for some of the Manchester City stars out on loan. As we enter December, the fixtures are starting to come thick and fast and it is vital that the players find some consistency. At the moment it appears that the only man on top of his game is Patrick Roberts

As City collapsed at the weekend at home to Chelsea, Patrick Roberts was at the same time in action at Fir Park in a thrilling encounter between Motherwell and Celtic. The young English winger continued his fine form from last week’s victory in the Scottish Cup Final as he provided a wonderful assist for Stuart Armstrong – which some are claiming could be the assist of the season – and also unconventionally scored a header as Brendan Rodgers’ side overturned a 3-1 deficit to come home as 4-3 victors. Roberts, who this week spoke with the media about a possible return to City next season, has become a real fan favourite at the club since retaining his spot in the first team and this Tuesday will return to the Etihad Stadium with Celtic.

In England, it was a difficult weekend for both Jason Denayer and Wilfried Bony. The Belgian natural centre-half, who has recently maintained his spot at Sunderland as a holding midfielder, was substituted at half-time in Sunderland’s 2-1 victory over the champions Leicester City. Denayer was replaced by Jan Kirchhoff who made an immediate impact in the second half, his header deflected off Robert Huth to put Sunderland ahead on 64 minutes and as a result of the substitution, Sunderland began to find their feet in the second half and came out as surprise winners. Meanwhile, at Stoke, Wilfried Bony has failed to impress Mark Hughes in his opening 3 months at the Bet365 stadium. The Ivorian forward was once again an unused substitute in Stoke’s 2-0 victory over Burnley. It looks increasingly clear that Bony’s stint at the club could be over as soon as January once the Chinese Super League window opens.

On the continent, it was a surprisingly quiet weekend for the youngsters learning their trade in the Eredivisie. In Holland, three of the club’s prospects Enes Unal, Bersant Celina and Yaw Yeboah were in action for Twente in their 0-0 draw at Willem II, while Oleksandr Zinchenko was subbed off in PSV’s 0-0 stalemate with Roda JC. Zinchenko, who in last few weeks has formed a solid partnership with Colombian full-back Santiago Arias on the right wing, struggled to make an impact in the game and was substituted for young Steven Bergwijn. It is believed that Zinchenko is in line to make his first Champions League start in PSV’s crunch match with Rostov this week where a victory could see the 23-time Dutch champions earn a spot in the Europa League on Matchday 6 of the tournament.

In contrast, in the second tier in Holland, on Friday evening, the City youngsters were in fine form for affiliate side NAC Breda. On the night, Brandon Barker and Thomas Agyepong both wrote their names on the scoresheet as NAC Breda beat Almere City 3-1 at the Rat Verlegh Stadion. Barker, who has struggled to find some consistency at NAC Breda, produced one of his greatest performances yet as his penalty opened the scoring for the home side and even came close to scoring the goal of the season in the Eerste Divisie. The English winger nearly scored an outrageous backheeled volley however his effort was denied by the woodwork and left the 19-year-old to take to Twitter to vent his disappointment about his missed chance. After a solid day’s work, he was replaced after 80 minutes by fellow City loanee Thomas Agyepong, who in the 92nd minute secured the victory for NAC Breda. The Ghanaian playmaker has been hampered by injuries this season, however this goal could mark a fresh start for the 20-year-old. Ashley Smith-Brown was in action again at full back while David Faupala, who scored in last week’s 3-1 defeat, was an unused substitute.

In Italy, it was a tough day for Joe Hart, the Englishman conceding his first away goals since the 31st October in Torino’s 2-0 defeat at Sampdoria. Despite Torino’s dominance on the day, they were unable to match their performance with a result. It was ultimately down to two set-pieces that changed the game and it was the second goal that has led to some criticism for Joe Hart. The keeper was nutmegged for Patrik Shick’s 95th minute strike and marked a poor day for England’s number one who yesterday afternoon failed to make a single save at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

Over in Spain, Marlos Moreno’s Deportivo are yet to play. They host high-flying Real Sociedad this evening on the back of their 4-3 thriller away at Malaga last weekend. Moreno, who a few weeks ago returned to the first-team, is expected to start for Deportivo. There was heartbreak for Eliaquim Mangala and Valencia last night. Prandelli’s side were moments away from their first victory at the Mestalla since the 22nd September until Pablo Fornals hit a late 93rd minute equaliser. Since Prandelli was appointed, Mangala has featured prominently in a back three and in the game was competent but was unable to prevent Fornals’ late strike. Samir Nasri remains injured, his Sevilla side were stunned 2-1 away at Granada and is unlikely to feature in their Champions League game with Lyon this week.

Next weekend marks is important for many of the Manchester City youngsters, and also for the senior stars with Joe Hart set to feature in his first Turin Derby. The next City Loan Watch will have a full feature on his performance at home to Juventus, while also reflecting on Jason Denayer’s showing in Sunderland’s relegation 6-pointer away at Swansea. In addition, there will be an update on Marlos Moreno as his side travel to the Bernabeu to play Real Madrid, and hopefully Samir Nasri will be back for Sevilla away at Celta.

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